A Place Called Winter is a beautifully written and tender novel about one man’s journey to find himself, loosely based on the life of the author’s maternal grandfather. Harry’s anxieties about his sexuality is made more poignant by the reader’s ability to look back from more enlightened times. But this, along with the references to the racism and sexism of the time, is never heavy-handed. When Petra, wanting to better understand her husband’s relationship with her brother, asks if the men’s connection is emotional as well as physical, he tells her:

“I suppose, in a different world … if everyone felt differently, it would be both. When a thing has always been forbidden and must live in darkness and silence, it’s hard to know how it might be, if allowed to thrive.” (p270)

If you’re interested in the history of the European colonisation of North America, if you enjoy un-soppy romance, if you like to read about characters who are required to keep the essence of who they are secret and/or you simply want to read a novel that’s a pleasure from beginning to end, I can highly recommend A Place Called Winter.

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